ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WTSP) – After Pinellas County sheriff’s officials enforced a court-ordered eviction on Monday, the last of the 400 or so people that have called the Mosley Motel home in recent months have moved out of the deplorable conditions that have long plagued the living quarters.
Eviction notices were posted on the doors of each of the rooms on Thursday, and residents trickled out over the weekend, with most out of the motel by Sunday night.
The evictions have been in the works for a while, after a foreclosure sale brought in new owners who plan to tear down the property for redevelopment.
"Seeing hundreds and hundreds of families being kicked out, I don't know, I just don't think it's right," said Christian Bogan, who lived on the property for several months.
It is not clear what the motel will be replaced with, but after going through the property, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said it was clear to him the people living there would be better off in another housing situation.
“I’ve been through it, and I can tell you, it’s nasty,” he said. “It is absolutely one of the worst situations I’ve ever seen. It’s not something people should be living in.”
Excessive trash, and unsightly exterior and a putrid smell mark the outside of the building, and pictures from the sheriff show the inside of the rooms aren’t much better.
“I’ll be blunt about it and tell you it’s a dump,” the sheriff said. “The rooms are just disgusting.”
Many of the indigent residents are elderly, disabled, or have some other extenuating circumstance that have kept them in these conditions, but the part that appeared to tug on the heartstrings of the sheriff were the children who had to endure the squalor.
“People shouldn’t be living like this, especially young kids,” he said. “And then we wonder why some of these kids will grow up to become criminal justice-involved and have the problems they do. It’s because of where they’re coming from and the environment they’re growing up in.”
Sheriff’s officials have been working with social service agencies to help people who do not have anywhere else to go. Animal services was also on-hand to voluntarily take any pets that would also be homeless.
(© 2017 WTSP)